The “hybrid” skills that tomorrow’s jobs will require, humans come out on top at the world’s first robot hotel, why leaders shouldn’t worry about absenteeism, and more

A bunch of app news, including Xero’s “improved” bank feeds sign up process, Dropbox acquiring HelloSign, a pet services app merger, and Stripe raising more money. Former SBA head Karen Mills’ thinks that small business banking is going to get a lot better (but it might not be the traditional banks that make that happen). Humans triumph over robots at the “world’s first robot hotel.” Why tomorrow's best paying and most secure jobs will require “hybrid” skills that use both the left and right brain. Finally, why leaders shouldn’t worry about absenteeism because it costs a lot more than “presenteeism."

Show Notes

A new bank feeds process – simpler, faster, and more secure — Xero Blog — Now, to connect a new bank feed you can download a pre-populated application form in Xero with information about your organisation and bank account details. Simply sign and date the form, scan and upload it back into Xero and they'll take care of the rest. 

Dropbox Buys HelloSign To Improve Document Workflow — PYMNTS — Dropbox, the cloud storage company, announced Monday (Jan. 28) that it has acquired HelloSign, an easy-to-use eSignature and document workflow platform.

DaySmart Software Acquires PupKeep — BusinessWire — DaySmart Software, the leading provider of business management software supporting small business growth, today announced it acquired PupKeep, a pet services cloud software company. The acquisition will allow DaySmart to expand its pet services offerings to incorporate daycare, boarding, kenneling and training into its existing grooming salon and mobile pet grooming software. 

Stripe Raises $100M On A $22.5B Valuation — PYMNTS — Stripe has raised $100 million in venture capital funding from Tiger Global Management, boosting the digital payment company's valuation to $22.5 billion. 

Small-business banking is about to get a whole lot better — American Banker — Big data and artificial intelligence will allow banks to do more for small businesses, former SBA head Karen Mills argues. 

This Time Humans Triumph Over Robots As They Take Back Hotel Jobs — NPR — A Japanese hotel that became known as the "world's first robot hotel" three years ago is powering off many of its robots. It turns out that guests prefer humans to handle their requests. 

The ‘Hybrid’ Skills That Tomorrow’s Jobs Will Require — WSJ — Jobs that tap both technical and creative thinking will be likely to pay well—and resist automation 

Don’t Worry About Absenteeism: Leadership Expert — CFO — "Presenteeism," or not being engaged on the job, is a far more costly problem for employers than absenteeism. 



Blake Oliver: The researchers discovered that, "Many employers want workers with experience in such new capabilities as big-data gathering, and analytics, or design using digital technology. Such roles often require not only familiarity with advanced computer programs, but also creative minds to make use of all that data."
Blake Oliver: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver-
David Leary: And I'm David Leary.
Blake Oliver: David, we've got a whole bunch of small-app news just kick things off this week, so I'm just gonna let you take it away.
David Leary: I found an article; it's from [00:00:30] the Xero blog, and it said, "A New Bank Feeds Process - Simpler, Faster, and More Secure." I really brought this up, because I need you to explain it to me, because, in this article, it says, "Say goodbye to manually filling an application forms." I'm just confused. There's paperwork involved, or there used to be paperwork involved to connect a bank feed to Xero? 
Blake Oliver: There's a good reason you're confused, because in the United States Xero partners with Yodlee for the bank feeds, so there is no paperwork to fill out. You just put in your [00:01:00] log-in to, say, Bank of America in Xero,  and then, through Yodlee, they go and retrieve the transactions. Elsewhere in the world, where there are fewer banks, for instance, in Australia, they're like what ...? 
David Leary: I think it's six ... Matt Paff said his had six. 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, six. There are basically six banks in Australia; here in the US,  there are like 3,000, if you count all the credit unions. Elsewhere in the world, Xero is able to build direct feeds. They just partner with each bank; they get access to their API. The way [00:01:30] that you set up your bank feed is you fill out a form, which has to still be paper, of course, because the banks are not particularly sophisticated. You fill out that form with your account number, you sign it, and you give it to the bank. Then the bank authorizes Xero to access your account.
David Leary: It's a paper-based OAuth process.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly.
David Leary: Okay. 
Blake Oliver: What Xero is doing here is not quite getting rid of the paper; it's still gonna be like a digital form that you fill out, and sign, but they are going to send the form to the bank, so it's much [00:02:00] less disruptive for you, and difficult. I actually had to do this one time, I believe, with Xero, and their City National Bank feed, because they do have a direct feed with City National Bank, here in the United States, in California. It was kind of a pain in the butt. This will make it simpler, and better.
David Leary: Wow ... I had no idea [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: Yeah, this is one thing that we have going on better in the US than elsewhere is that we don't have to fill out these forms. 
David Leary: Every time somebody from Australia gives me grief about paper checks, [00:02:30] and the dominance of those in the States, we'll just bring this up.
Blake Oliver: There you go. 
David Leary: You guys have paper OAuth processes. I got a few. Want me to knock out some of these app ones fast? 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, well, we were just talking about paper. What's this news about Dropbox buying HelloSign? 
David Leary: Yeah, Dropbox bought HelloSign. Many of you are probably familiar with Dropbox. I know lots of listeners, our listeners, are using that, or they're using Box, or they're using OneDrive. Many of you are using things like DocuSign, or HelloSign, which is a similar product. HelloSign, I think, is a [00:03:00] little bit more API-based. Dropbox has to compete, because I think DocuSign got bought by Adobe, so there's some consolidation happening here. It's gonna make sense ... If you're using HelloSign, but using Box, or using Dropbox, and you're using DocuSign, it might make sense for you to roll whatever you're using to the other product, so you have an integrated suite.
The interesting thing that I think in this article - this article was in - is there's a quote from- it's [00:03:30] from Dropbox, and it really reminded me of the Intuit-TSheets deal, where first, HelloSign ... TSheets integrated with QuickBooks first, and really started to get to know the Intuit team; the Intuit team got to know TSheets. Then, over time, they realized they had common cultures. And so I'll read this quote: "Dropbox didn't disclose deal terms but noted that HelloSign went through the company's Extensions partnership that Dropbox announced in 2018. Through that program, Dropbox said that it learned that HelloSign shares a common culture [00:04:00] that is focused on putting the customer first."
Blake Oliver: Yeah, they had a partnership, then they eventually had an acquisition; makes a lotta sense.
David Leary: Those types of acquisitions are usually the most successful, because they kinda dated first.
Blake Oliver: We're gonna see a lot more of that, not just in the document-management/ online-storage space, but I think you and I both agree this is gonna happen a lot more in the accounting world. Xero, and Intuit acquiring their most popular add-ons to build out their broader functionality.
David Leary: Not even just in the accounting [00:04:30] level; it's happening at the deep niche level. I have another article, believe it or not.
Blake Oliver: This one is about pet-services business software, which, I didn't even know that there was specialized business-management software for pet businesses.
David Leary: Yeah, I've been following this pet space for a while, like the four or five ... There's about five SaaS apps that do pet stuff.
Blake Oliver: I mean, you're the niche guy, so this doesn't surprise me.
David Leary: I know. DaySmart, who has an app called 123Pet Software ... That's software you use [00:05:00] to run your grooming saloon, or mobile-pet grooming [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: Saloon or salon? 
David Leary: Salon, salon, sorry. I've been at the saloon already, this morning [cross talk] 
Blake Oliver: I would love to go to a pet saloon. I'm picturing that it's just like a bar, with puppies everywhere.
David Leary: Wet dogs getting washed, yeah, something like that. 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. 
David Leary: They specialize ... Super-super-niche software, right? Now, what they've done is they've purchased another company called PupKeep, and their specialty was like day care, dog boarding, dog kenneling. Now, [00:05:30] they're really dominating full end-to-end puppy-care business, all for SaaS-based services.
Blake Oliver: Do these apps plug into GLs? Is it in QuickBooks, and stuff? 
David Leary: I'm not positive on PupKeep, but I do know that 123Pet does. 
Blake Oliver: Got it, so that's the tie-in to cloud. 
David Leary: Yeah, and they had a 30-percent user-base growth last year. This is a serious app. An app like that's never gonna be Uber, or as big as Expensify, but [00:06:00] for those pet- those ... What would you call these? Pet-grooming professionals that'll probably use that app, it's the most important app in their tech stack, I bet; that niche app. All we need now is to find who's the cloud-accounting accountant, or bookkeeper who is the puppy CPA, because that's the person that could dominate this niche. 
Blake Oliver: I wanna be the puppy CPA. That sounds great.
David Leary: Go for it. 
Blake Oliver: Well, I'm allergic to cats, though, so I'd have to be very specific - only dogs, right. Well, going from one extreme [00:06:30] to the other, from small niche apps to the biggest, there's some news about Stripe, right?
David Leary: Yeah, Stripe, and it's a simple, simple headline: Stripe took on another $100 million investment, and now, that makes them the biggest unicorn worth $20-billion valuation.
Blake Oliver: Well, it doesn't surprise me, because everybody in the world seems to be using Stripe, right? It's Stripe, and Square. 
David Leary: I always feel like Stripe's the interesting one, because everybody uses it, but nobody uses it. Square, you see, physically ... Square terminals; you see people swiping Square. [00:07:00]
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: You see it, but Stripe is just nine lines of code that everybody else puts in their apps.
Blake Oliver: Maybe we should explain that, for the folks who are not that familiar with Stripe. What kind of companies use Stripe, and how do they use it?
David Leary: Probably, any SaaS app that you're using, so the vast majority of the apps you're seeing. Maybe, I would guess that pet software, they probably have a place for customers to pay for the grooming appointment for their dog. That company, or that app developer has a choice. You can build your own credit-card-charging [00:07:30] mechanisms. Takes you a lot of time, and money, and effort, and security concerns; or you can use a service like Stripe, and they give you nine lines of code that you drop into your app, and now you can take credit cards. It's very, very easy for developers to make that call. You're just gonna drop this in and be done.
Blake Oliver: That's why Stripe is worth so much, really, is because they were the first to make it that easy.
David Leary: Absolutely. If you own an app, [00:08:00] and you're building an app, you don't wanna build something that you can get for ... Nine lines of code is kinda free, right? You're gonna use this, and it's been implemented everywhere because of that.
Blake Oliver: I think you've got one last story also about FinTech, in American Banker;  what's going on with banking?
David Leary: Again, we constantly talk ... This has been my kick, right? This is my special assignment, like what are the new banks. There's an article in American Banker, and this is from [00:08:30] ... Her name is Karen Mills. She is the former head of the SBA, and a senior fellow at the Harvard Business School. She has an article written up about how small-business banking is about to get a whole lot better. 
The premise of this is that because of so many newcomers, that current lenders in this sector is gonna completely change. She doesn't really go on in this article, and say the big banks are gonna figure this out. She paints in an imaginary world, where a coffee [00:09:00] shop owner pulls up her small-business dashboard; she can see projected cash flows, see how her payroll expenses are affecting her, and then have the ability to quickly get a loan, right?
Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm.
David Leary: As this article goes on, considering this is somebody from kind of the established banking world, she's really talking about how it's the tech companies - Square, PayPal, Amazon - are really starting to have the best information about small businesses, and be able to predict the loan situations.
Blake Oliver: You know, [00:09:30] you've been talking about, for months now, is that the banks are gonna provide an integrated gateway to loans, lines of credit, payments, and platforms, business intelligence, and numerous other products, and services. That, to me, doesn't sound like any of the banks; that, to me, sounds like Intuit.
David Leary: Yeah, and that's what's interesting about this article,  because she actually used the word, and I'm quoting, "These small-business banks of the future." 
Blake Oliver: Right. 
David Leary: She didn't say banks of the future are gonna provide these services. She's calling out, like these are separate entities ... My [00:10:00] argument is they exist today. It's just the banks don't know they exist in the same form. It's a good article. We'll have it in the notes. It's good to see maybe the banking industry starting to realize the same thing that we're seeing from the small-business side.
Blake Oliver: I've got a fun story that is a bit ... I don't know, how would you describe this? It is anti-robot, so it is anti-technology ... Sort of an example of a failure of an early attempt, but a fun one. This, [00:10:30] I heard on NPR News, and it's called a story called, "This Time Humans Triumph Over Robots as They Take Back Hotel Jobs.".
"A Japanese hotel that became known as the world's first robot hotel three years ago is powering off many of its robots. It turns out that guests prefer humans to handle their requests." Victory for the humans over the robots. David, you actually have seen what this hotel looks like, right? I didn't, because I listened to this story on the radio.
David Leary: Yeah, I [00:11:00] thought it was very amusing that you brought this story in, today, because my son, Zander, my middle son, he has to do weekly news reports for school, and write up his current ... They call them current events. This was his current event. Apparently, there's a bunch of videos about this. He wrote up ... He had me in his room; he was showing me these videos. Apparently, this hotel had like a dinosaur robot; it would talk [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: -was a dinosaur.
David Leary: -but the dinosaur spoke English. If you went to the other counter, they didn't [00:11:30] speak English, so you had to be tossed over to the dinosaur, because he spoke English. That's how you would check in. It was broken, and it was almost like a neglected ... What's the pizza place you take your kids to?
Blake Oliver: Chuck E. Cheese? 
David Leary: Yes, like those singing robots, if they were kinda half not working-.
Blake Oliver: Well, they're usually half not working, right? 
David Leary: That was the experience at this hotel.
Blake Oliver: That's the memory of my childhood.
David Leary: Yes, that is the experience of the hotel.
Blake Oliver: Well, so, yeah, they had a robot concierge, robot porters, a robot piano player, [00:12:00] and robot vacuums. Apparently, the robot dinosaur that would check your passport, and ID couldn't actually do it, so a human would have to come out from behind a curtain and complete the job. The robot porter couldn't reach most of the rooms, because it can't climb stairs, or go outside.
The seven humans on the staff - it's a small hotel - were spending most of their time trying to recharge the robots or help guests when the robots failed. Eventually, they gave up, and they fired half their robots [cross talk]  They had 243 robots [00:12:30] to start with, and they got rid of half of them. There's still robots there.
David Leary: I thought some of it made sense. There were little ... You put your luggage in it, and it was just like a cube, and it just drove your luggage around, which is kinda cool. I think there were probably some possibilities that should just be in all hotels.
Blake Oliver: Well, for me, the takeaway, more broadly, is outside of the hotel world, is that robots are great, but they still can't do everything, so we should use them for what they're good at - augmenting humans - rather [00:13:00] than trying to replace them. That's the lesson of the Japanese robot hotel.
David Leary: It'd be interesting is somebody tried to build a new hotel with technology from now. This is old technology, already. It's a good lesson. It's not gonna be a 100-percent replace; it's augmentation.
Blake Oliver: Speaking of robotics automation, there's a new report from Burning Glass Technologies that I spotted in an article in The Wall Street Journal; title of the article is, "The Hybrid Skills that Tomorrow's Jobs will Require." I [00:13:30] like this article because I saw a lot of myself in here. I majored in music, as an as an undergrad, and only later got into accounting; got my CPA. I've always said that the liberal-arts education that I had was incredibly, incredibly valuable.
This report tries to identify people who have those left-, and right-brain skills, and says that these employees are gonna have the biggest opportunities in the future. The researchers discovered that, "Many employers [00:14:00] want workers with experience in such new capabilities as big- data gathering, and analytics, or design using digital technology. Such roles often require not only familiarity with advanced computer programs, but also creative minds to make use of all that data." I think the same thing is true in accounting, and finance, these days. We have all of these cool tools. If you can master them, that's great, but you really need creativity to take them to their full potential.
David Leary: Agreed, because it's not just [00:14:30] data, right? 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly, or, for me, let's say you're building out somebody's app stack on top of a QuickBooks base, and then you're helping them select their business-management application, like that puppy one you were talking about; you're figuring out how to integrate Stripe, and their payroll, and all that stuff. That takes a creative approach. You can't just cookie-cutter do the same thing for every customer, every client.
You've gotta really look at their needs and see how they like to work. It's [00:15:00] a very, very emotional thing, almost, knowing ... Being able to figure out whether or not that client can go with something more complex, or something simpler; what's gonna be a good fit for them? What are they gonna actually use? If they don't use it, it doesn't matter how fancy, and great it is, right? 
David Leary: You have to balance all that - their own personal needs, what their staff needs are, and their skills, and abilities.
Blake Oliver: There are some actual stats in this job, or in this report, about job growth for "hybrid jobs" that [00:15:30] require both creative, and analytical skills, or digital skills. Overall job growth is going to be about 10 percent, between 2018 and 2028. The jobs that are the most hybridized will grow by twice that, 21 percent. People in hybrid jobs are less likely to become obsolete, because hybridized jobs have only a 12-percent risk of being automated, compared with a 42-percent risk for jobs overall.
If you want to have basically unlimited [00:16:00] opportunity in the future, if you're a right-brained person, you gotta get those left-brain skills; if you're left-brained person, get those right-brain skills. I think it is generally easier for people who are on the creative side to go back to school and get those hard skills, if you can make the time. I think even if you are a right-brained type person, and that's where your skills are, you can work on those soft skills. I don't know, maybe pick up an instrument; join a local orchestra; something like that.
David Leary: Well, maybe you could even do it by doing some of these [00:16:30] technical skills. If you're a bookkeeper, and you're used to just typing data, and that was your skill set, and that's gonna go away, you could just take a little bit ... Just go a little bit technical, just to the right a little bit, right? Am I going right, or left? Am I going the right direction? 
Blake Oliver: Actually, I think ... What is it? Left ... Right brain is creative, and left brain is analytical? I don't remember.
David Leary: You're sliding over just a little, one iteration over-
Blake Oliver: Yeah. [00:17:00]
David Leary: -to where maybe you start learning things like Zapier, and you start learning ways to creatively help automate your own job, so you can really invest that time to be more creative.
Blake Oliver: I like that IT auditor was one of the example jobs of a very hybrid, hybrid job, which people might not think of an IT auditor as being both creative, and analytical. Auditors have to do a lot of personal human interaction to get the information they need, and every [00:17:30] company's different, right? 
David Leary: Before you jump off this article, can you at least read the subtitle of the article, because I really felt like that hits home [cross talk] on this. 
Blake Oliver: It says, "Jobs that tap both technical and creative thinking will be likely to pay well, and resist automation." That's the takeaway.
David Leary: There's that pause, though, "... and resist automation." I think that's the real takeaway in this. I think there's one more somewhere here. 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, I got one more here. This is a leadership-type article. If you are leading a team, if you have a firm, [00:18:00] you might be interested to learn about these stats about presentee-ism, which is the opposite of absenteeism. The takeaway from this article in CFO is basically that presenteeism, or not being engaged on the job, is far more costly for employers than absenteeism, where people just don't show up. 
Great example of presenteeism is sick days that people don't take, where they show up for work, but they are not performing at full capacity due to sickness, lack of engagement, or distractions. Apparently, [00:18:30] according to research, that costs you, when those people show up, and they're sick, for instance; it costs you 10 times more than if they just don't show up.
David Leary: Is that because they make mistakes? They're just not focused? They're just kinda hanging around, getting in everybody's way, making other people sick?
Blake Oliver: Yeah, I think, in the case of sick employees, and particularly, they're infecting everybody else, so they're reducing everyone else's productivity. As part of this study, they talked to employees, and got some anecdotal evidence. Workers [00:19:00] say they take an average of only four sick days a year, but they also confessed to spending the equivalent of about 12 workweeks per year being idle, or unmotivated on the job. Wouldn't it be better if your people took more sick days, but were much more productive when they were actually at the office? 
To me, this is a great argument against time sheets, and making people come into work, to work 9:00 to 5:00, because you have to look at them, to make sure they're working right. If they're at their desk, you have no idea if they're being productive, just for them sitting [00:19:30] there. There's a great picture in the article of a guy sitting at his computer, resting his head on his hand, not being productive, obviously.
All the evidence suggests that you should not be worrying about whether or not people are actually at the office. You should be doing stuff like making sure that every employee feels that they matter, not just as workers, but as human beings. I was surprised that one of the researchers said that. That sounds much more right-brain than left-brain.
David Leary: There's a relationship that the workplaces that have the most difficult to use vacation [00:20:00] or sick days, there's a correlation, where they're most likely to have a poorly motivated staff. That's kind of interesting, so we'll see how ... I think we talked about that, Will Farnell, two weeks ago, three weeks ago. He's like, "Unlimited PTO for my staff." 
Blake Oliver: Yeah [cross talk] the beauty of unlimited PTO, every employer who is thinking about switching to unlimited PTO thinks, "Oh, no, my employees will take so much PTO, and I'll get a lot less out of them," but all the evidence actually suggests the opposite; that when you give people unlimited PTO, they're happier, and they use less of it, just [00:20:30] because they feel like they could.
David Leary: They don't have that resentful, unmotivated feeling.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, it'd be like ... Imagine if at all your employees came to work every day, and you locked the doors so they couldn't leave until 5:00 p.m.; they would feel like they're in a cage. If you take the locks off the doors, they'll still stay until 5:00, but they won't feel caged.
David Leary: That's what happened at the robot hotel. Those guys had to work 24 hours a day, and eventually, they all just broke down.
Blake Oliver: Maybe that's the missing piece [00:21:00] of the story from the robot hotel is they were not properly motivated.
David Leary: They didn't have a good time-off policy.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, well- 
David Leary: Which is true, they don't have a time-off policy. That's why they broke down. It's totally true that they never got any rest. Maybe on that note, we should kill this.
Blake Oliver: One last thing I wanted ... One last takeaway from the author quoted in this article - Jack Skeen. He's a Fortune 500 leadership coach, and a leadership-development expert - in response to the research. He says ... He [00:21:30] counsels that leaders should change their point of view from 'how can I get the most out of my employees?' to 'how can I give the most to my employees?' People will feel seen, valued, and empowered, and they will be much more likely to be present, and focused on the job- 
David Leary: That's well-said. 
Blake Oliver: That's it. All I got this week. 
David Leary: That's well-said. Cool, so a short, quick episode, which means people should have plenty of time to go to, and sign up for the newsletter, so that way they get all the show notes.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, go to There will be a blue [00:22:00] banner at the top of your screen; you can click that banner to subscribe to my email list. That way, whenever a podcast episode comes out, you will get an email the very next day that has all of the links to the articles that we're talking about, a summary; you can go read the articles if you wanna get more information. You can post those articles on social media, if you wanna look really smart, like you know everything that's going on. What a great way to let all your co-workers know [00:22:30] that you're on the cutting edge in subscribing to The Cloud Accounting Podcast.
David Leary: Yeah, absolutely. That's what we're here for - a resource for you. Then, if people want to quickly chat with us, quickly, best way is Twitter?
Blake Oliver: Yeah, you kinda have to be quick on Twitter, right? I'm @BlakeTOliver-.
David Leary: And I'm @DavidLeary.
Blake Oliver: Let us know if you liked any of these shows, if you liked any of these articles, if you have any thoughts ... I know you have thoughts. I know you have opinions. We wanna hear them.
David Leary: Yeah, and don't forget about our Facebook fan page. Just search for Cloud Accounting Podcast, and please [00:23:00] keep those iTunes reviews coming. 
Blake Oliver: We love those; yeah, please review us on iTunes, or your podcast service of choice. It really helps us find more accountants, who wanna learn about accounting technology, and the future of the profession. With that, David, I'll talk to you next week.
David Leary: Awesome. Bye. 

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